tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC August 9, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
sort of the way they want to play it. they think that disrupts people, makes them uncertain and invest their benefit. >> all right, david, susan, elise, mark, mike, you to some extent, thank you very much for being here. >> thank you, willy. >> that does it for us, chris jan sing picks up the coverage. >> i am in for stephanie rule this morning. president trump's unprecedented language on north korea's nuclear threat. >> they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> now, new threats against u.s. interests. >> they are blowing through this president's red line like tissue paper. what is trump going to do now? >> and from both sides of the aisle, concern that trump isn't up to the task. >> the great leaders that i've seen, they don't threaten unless they are ready to act. and i'm not sure that president trump is ready to act. >> we begin today with that
standoff between president trump and north korea's kim jong-un. two of the most unpredictable leaders on the planet, seemingly trying to one up each other with a prospects of a new korean war or nuclear exchange raising serious concern around the world. morning, trump is touting america's nuclear program and reinforcing on twitter that chilling warning from yesterday, that he gave just hours after reports north korea can now fit a nuke on the head of a long range missile. >> north korea best not make anymore threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.
thank you. >> just a short time ago, secretary of state rex tillerson on a previously scheduled fueling stop in guam said the president knows what he's doing. >> what the president is doing is sending a strong message to north korea. in language that kim jong-un would understand. because he didn't seem to understand diplomatic language. i think the president just wanted to be clear to the north korean regime that the u.s., you know, unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and it's allies, and i think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on this part. >> we have a fantastic team here to help break it all down. peter alexander, just a few miles from where trump is staying. let's start there, peter, are we getting any clearer idea of exactly what the administration's strategy on north korea is? and what the president meant when he had those, i would say unprecedented words yesterday. >> reporter: yeah, i know, i
think that's a fair way to cast it, kris, we are hearing a more low key reassuring tone from america's top diplomat mat, the secretary of state, rex tiler en route to guam as he comes back to the united states after a series of visits taking place in asia. tillerson basically urging calm, saying that americans should have no concerns that he didn't believe there was any eminent threat, specifically speaking to americans he said that they should be able to sleep well at night right now. this is obviously very different than what we had heard from the president yesterday. but the president himself has sort of lowered the temperature, at least in his language already this morning. here's what he tweeted just a short time ago, series of tweets where he wrote in part, my first order in president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. it's stronger and more powerful than ever before. hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will not be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world. a little bit of a fact-check on that statement there, it was
among the president's first orders of business in january and executive order calling for a review of the military readiness, our nuclear preparation around the world right now. to prepare for renovations and potential strengthening, but the white house hasn't detailed any findings from that review or any change in the posture right now. and kris, or it very clear, if there was a ratcheting up, a strengthening of our nuclear arsenal, experts say that wouldn't take six months or less, that would take years or decades right now. so it appears he's sort of perhaps misrepresenting exactly the status of that assessment. >> peter, thank you for that. i want to bring in my panel. loni chen, research fellow at hoover institution and former advisorle to marco rubio and mitt romney. governor from indiana, now co-chair of the bipartisan group no labels. gordon chang, north korea takes on the world. let me start there, gordon, one of the things rex tillerson said
this morning, he was asked whether or not these statements mean we're heading towards a military option, and he said, he hasn't seen anything that would indicate that this situation has changed dramatically over the passed 24 hours. so is he basically saying that the president's statement wasn't a red line? >> well, i think what he's saying is that he would like to see a diplomatic solution, but the point is there have been a number of comments from administration officials that are really very different from the secretary of states. so for instance, we had general dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs two weeks talk about diplomacy only having a couple more months to run. we had lindsey graham's comments back when he talked to the president about saying if there's going to be a war, it's going to be over there and of course hr mcmaster, national security advisor who actually talked about not preemptive war, but preventative war, even more provocative. there are a number of different things that administration officials are saying and eventually the president has to the go to have message
disciplines to countries elsewhere understand what the u.s. policy really is. >> nuclear weapons expert joe was on rachel's show last night, and toit play what he had to say and i'll get your take on the other side. >> the seriousness of this situation could not be overestimated. what you're worried about is you have two insecure, inexperienced, impulsive leaders in control of a vast amount of destructive force, squaring off in the most heavily militarized area on earth. >> not only that, gordon, but you have in kim jong-un, somebody who may feel if he doesn't now, very soon, that he could essentially hit any part of the united states. >> well certainly. and that's going to make him feel invulnerable. he knows that china has his back. he even has perhaps chinese technology and most advanced missiles and the missiles he tested last month came to the launch sites on chinese transporter erectors. he's probably feeling good and i think that's why president trump in that tweet this morning said there is never going to be a time when the u.s. is not the most powerful nation in the
world. that was a message to china about you can't help north korea the way you have. also those comments fire and fury yesterday, probably directed more to ping in china than to kim jong-un of north korea. >> more to china than to north korea. >> absolutely. >> go ahead. >> because ping is in a sensitive political period in the run-up to the 19th party congress in a couple of months. he could lose some power if trump were to disrupt the u.s./china relationship because ping would be blamed for that. >> loni, do you think that's possible that the president's statement was part of a larger strategy that was really aimed at china or do you think that's giving the administration too much credit? >> i think kris, it's important for us to take a step back here and think about the execution of foreign policy under the trump administration. i think one of the preaccepts from which the president departs is that he doesn't want to appear predictable. you heard him say this over and over again on the campaign trail. remember, he was talking about what they would do with afghanistan.
he was talking about the north korea situation, and on the campaign trail, he said look, i don't to want telegraph to my enemies, to the enemies of the united states what potentially we could be doing. so yes, it's entirely possible this is part of a more concerted strategy, a good cop bad cop if you will between rex tillerson and the president regarding what the american posture is. the question is, whether in fact that is a productive way forward. whether in fact that will convince the chinese to get tougher on north korea, whether it'll mean that north korea is going to feel that they are potentially a threat giving the the president's more erratic pronouncements. this could be part of a larger strategy. i think we have see thousand plays out. >> if this is good cop bad cop, if it is part of a strategy, it doesn't seem to be a strategy that was communicated to at least senior members of the relevant committees because you heard bipartisan concern on capitol hill including from john mccain, let me play that. >> i take expectation to the president's comments because
you've you've gotta be sure that you can do what you say you're going to do. the great leaders that i have seen, they don't threaten unless they are ready to act. i'm not sure that president trump is ready to act. >> so governor, you served when you were in the senate with john mccain also diane feinstein, somebody that came out expressing concern about the president's words yesterday. do you get that the sense that this administration has it's ducks in a row and if it doesn't, if there's concern on the hill that it doesn't. what role can the senate or congress in general play in this? >> they're certainly not communicating with the leaders on capitol hill very well. and we've seen this before in the context of health care and several other things. and i think what my friend senator mccain was just saying, he's concerned the president has boxed himself in, a little bit the way president obama boxed himself in in syria by drawing a red line and not enforcing. when he used the words threats last night. he probably didn't mean to say that, the north korean regime
threatens all the time. but to ants second part of your question, i think what's going on here, we're going down a two-track process. on the one hand, we really want to get a negotiated settlement to this. and the president throughout his business career and his brief political career has made absolute statements bell coast statements either he didn't believe or he was saying just for effect. maybe there's some of that going on in a tactical sense, but strategically, we to want try and maximize the chance of a negotiated settlement, but there is some, you know, minimal chance that this might go beyond that to the use of force and they're holding that as an option as well. and that's why you're getting mixed signals. there are two tracks we're going down. >> two tracks and the unpredictability of kim jong-un. i want to bring in bill kneely who has covered this situation for decades. he's just landed in seoul, south korea, give us a sense of the feeling over there, bill. >> reporter: yeah, good morning,
kris, they've got every right here to be the most nervous city in the world because seoul, this city with a metro population of 25 million would be the first casualty in any war. there are 10,000 artillery tubes in north korea pointed at this city alone. so they have every right to be nervous. and there is a new reality here, not just that u.s. intelligence assessment which shows them for the first time that they do have a nuclear neighbor to the north, but also the new rhetoric. here in seoul, they're used to rhetoric from the north, but this is the first time they've heard this kind of fiery rhetoric from a president of the united states. and frankly, there is confusion here. you know, what does it mean? what constitutes a threat for president trump? what kind of red line exactly has he drawn? now the more optimistic analysts in seoul would say, nobody wants a war here, especially not kim jong-un, the survival of him,
his dynasty, and his country is paramount. so, you know, there is hope mixed in with the anxiety, but the stakes here, kris, are extremely high. also, high in guam and japan, and everyone here has been listening to this extraordinary statement, the most specific threat against u.s. soil that north korea has yet issued, i'll just read it to you for clarity. the north koreans say they are strategic force is not carefully examining the operational plan for making an envel lopping fire at areas around guam with medium to long range strategic ballistic rockets. now the governor of guam has been trying to reassure the population there as we have just heard secretary said rex tillerson arrived there and reassured them as well. also said americans can sleep easy this in their beds, but this is a very specific threat, and it's something south korea
is not particularly used to. they're used to general threats. also japan, today was the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear bombing of nagasaki that killed between 40 and 80,000 people. so there too, anxiety about how the heat is being ratcheted up here, you know, the real danger everyone thinks is miscalculation, confusion, and they are confused, is the policy, it the u.s. policy president trumps or is it the more immule i can't words of the secretary of state rex tillerson when he says you're not our enemy. we don't seek regime change. anxiety and some confusion, kris. >> bill, thank you for that. i want to talk about that anxiety and confusion because the other thing that rex tillerson said today that was interesting is that he thinks in registration to north korea, it's been a pretty good week. and obviously he was referencing both the u.n. security council resolution that was unanimous on these new sanctions.
some talk talk, if you have confusion, if you have our allies wondering who speaks for the united states what exactly is our policy when off dhaesk deals with the korean peninsula that's not fully staffed. what does that mean and what does it mean for americans waking up? seeing these headlines that talk about fire and fury, and yet, they have the secretary of state saying, you know what, sleep well at night. >> well, mixed messages and a lack of staffing in that sort of thing, kris, does as one other guest said tleeds a bad outcome. and that is something to be avoided and the administration needs to try to coordinate better on that front. that said, i think they're going down two tracks here. and the president has seems to think that ratcheting up the pressure increases the chances if kim jong-un is a rational actor of getting a negotiated deal out of him, regrettably it also in a time of confusion
increases the chances of a miscalculation and forcing us to go down a military path which no one wants. the key question here, at the end of the day is the leader of north korea a rational actor or not? >> does anybody think he is? >> that's the caption we need to make? >> i think he's rational, he operates under very different incentives than we do or our leaders do. that's why he could do things that surprise us. his regime may not be stable. from the beginning of january through about the middle of february, we saw a number of incidents that really should trouble us. so for instance, there was the execution of five senior subordinat subordinates, even the minister himself was detained. this indicates real turbulence inside the ruling group and the reason this is important for us, if it's not a stable regime, we may not be able to deter it. and that has all sorts of horrible consequences when we think about north korea's capabilities in the hands of someone who we may not be able
to stop. >> general men, thanks to all of you. much more to talk about. happening now in france police have shot a man suspected of slamming his car into a group of soldiers before speeding off. six soldiers were hurt, three hospitalized. the suspect was shot five times, captured, and taken to the hospital. police were able to track his car from surveillance footage. the paris prosecutor has opened up an official terror investigation. and up next, much more on that escalating situation with north korea. president trump retweeting stories about u.s. jets in guam prepping for a fight. but how is our military reacting to the escalating words from their commander in chief? it's ok that everybody ignores me when i drive. it's fine. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. because i don't use my cellphone when i'm driving. even though my family does, and leaves me all alone. here's something else... i don't share it with mom. i don't. right, mom? i have a brand new putter you don't even know about!
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thrones. i'm going to fire everybody. it was really wild. >> do you watch that like everybody else does and just say like what the she can going on? >> you're talking about game of thrones or the white house? there are two scenarios where we would go to war with north korea, they attack guam or some other american interest or our allies or if they tried to keep developing a icbm with a nuclear weapon on top to hit the homeland. we would act. >> that's senator lindsey graham this morning as we follow developments with tensions escalating dramatically between the u.s. and north korea. just a short time ago, rex tillerson saying quote, americans should sleep well at night. his comments just a day after president trump threatened fire and fury against the rogue nation. north korea countered making it's own threats to attack guam. home to 6,000 u.s. troops and 160,000 residents considered
u.s. citizens. what are the options for the u.s. military in a situation like this one? joining me now, retired general barry mccaffrey. good to see you. we can start with the premise that all of know that any military option is not a good one. having said that. when you heard the president say fire and fury, did you consider it a threat of military action and when a president says words like that, what are our armed forces doing, if anything, to position themselves in the case they get called on? >> well, obviously very unhelpful comment by the president, you notice that tillerson and governor haley have made very moderate, sensible comments, they did organize a security counsel in an admirable to confront north korea's nuke program. you know secretary mattis has disappeared from sight. there's no comment coming out of him. so i think there's an attempt to be rational. the only danger here, in my
mind, is north korea's decision-making mechanism is unknown to us. this is a young guy, he's probably fearful of his generals, we don't want him to m miscalculate, i mean, if he did fire missiles at guam, which is highly unlikely, it'd be all out war. ceo so, you know, again, i think the challenge is going to be how do we negotiate, engage these people, they're not giving up their nuclear weapons for any reason. the chinese aren't going to strangle them economically. we're going to have to deal with a situation, and that certainly means hemming him in with ballistic missile defense. >> when you say that tillerson and haley's comments were an attempt to be rational, is it your implication that the president's comments were ir rational? >> personally i've never heard anything like this.irrational?
>> personally i've never heard anything like this. bombers, navy subs which are globally deployed. renovate and modernize our arsenal. it's now stronger and more powerful than ever before. there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world. so, we have a president whose been in office just over 200 days, has he renovated and modernized our nuclear arsenal in our time? >> it's complete nonsense. and there is an ongoing requirement to modernize this force without which we are going to be in trouble. expensive, congress has to authorize it. there is a game plan, i think president trump has supported that modernization program politically, but there's been no change. the u.s. nuke force is reliable,
it's on duty, it's under control. the north koreans know that. so again, i think the problem is, will this kim jong-un m miscalculate. he has seized -- the north koreans have seized u.s. naval ship at sea, shot down u.s. air force aircraft. so i mean, if he made an error trying to impress his generals that he's tough and actually fired missiles at guam, it would be a regional and global disaster. we would go to war without question. >> our friend and colleague, colonel jack jacobs made an interesting this point morning on the "today" show, and i want to play that. >> if you're going to do anything, you have to convince the military establishment to go along with it. we have some pretty cool heads there, and i think it's going to be difficult for preemptive attacks. >> the cool heads that he talked about, also around him, kelly mcmaster, mattis, does that mitigate some of your concern? >> oh yeah.
i think secretary mattis and kelly and hr are not even going to tolerate an illegal conversation about use of military power. i must admit that that comment by jack makes me uneasy. we should not forget the u.s. armed forces have a legal responsible to obey the proper orders of the commander in chief. that's in the constitution. so, we don't want to walk away from that notion with the thought that you have to persuade the military leadership to do what you tell them to do. but there's two civilians that control that process. the commander in chief and the secretary of defense. >> always good to talk to you, general, thank you so much. >> good to be with you. up next, the markets dove after the president's comments on north korea, giving us our first negative day in a week and a half. strong words continue to fly, how will the markets open today? the opening bell is next.
officials at his new jersey golf club, he says the u.s. will beat the crisis with early intervention, more federal drug prosecutions and tough border enforcement. he stopped short of declaring a national emergency as his opioid. a paris suburb man was shot. six soldiers were hurt. three in critical within. prosecutors are investigating it has a terrorist attack. 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck near a famous national park in china. killing at least 19 people and injuring hundreds of others. according to to the china's official news agency, at least five of the dead are tourists. superstar golfer tiger woods will be arraigned today for his dui arrest back in may. woods' attorney said the golfer will not attend the arraignment today but will file a plea of not guilty. and david letterman will be making a tv return. netflix announcing it's picked up a show hosted by the former late show comedian. the yet untitled project will
focus on six interviews. it's set to premier next year. the opening bell ringing just moments ago on the new york stock exchange as the showdown with north korea is royaling global markets. asian and european markets have take an hit this morning. right now u.s. markets are down. i want to bring in msnbc contributor josh barro, senior editor for business insider. what's going on? >> the markets are nervous, but they're not panicking. dow down was about a quarter of a percent. we saw asian markets and korea down about a percent and japan down a little more than a percent. so the markets are reacting to the news for the last few months, it seemed like they were calm. so they are reacting a little, but not a lot. >> that was my question. we have seen people thought that fair was on fire and the markets in any other presidency might indeed have gone down, they didn't, in fact in many cases, they went up. why is this different? >> well, i mean there's rising
tension, and the question is how much of the rising stengs real. the threats from the north koreans that you see. the north koreans make threats all the time. what's different obviously is the posture of the u.s. government and the fact that donald trump is in charge of the u.s. government. it's become more predictable how we're going to respond to them and what that might provoke out of the north koreans. you see moves in the global currency markets that suggest that people are nervous about risk. they move back to safe haven currencies and the japanese yen. there's more risk now than there was a day ago, maybe not a catastrophic amount. >> i think it's more than 50% of americans don't have any money in the stock market. not everybody has a 401k. so for those people, why does this matter? why do we watch the markets so closely? >> well, i think part of what we're looking for here is how much -- what the markets are saying about what the risks are of major geopolitical conflict, which obviously would have the most important effects of that would not be effects in the financial markets themselves if we had, you know, god forbid a nuclear attacks from the north koreans, there would be enormous cost and loss of life.
and even if there was nonnuclear wars, a conventional war in east asia, significant losses of life and also have significant impacts on the world economy. when the stock market ends up falling significantly. that reflects declines in corporate profits there that will mean job layoffs, weak wage growth. those things obviously flow through to ordinary can consumers and workers. >> what are you looking for now as we move forward today? >> well, i'm first of all i'm looking to watch, you know, secretary of state rex tillerson was trying it seemed to walk -- >> calm the waters. >> yeah, so we'll see whether there is some calming down. we also saw the north koreans apparently releasing this canadian preacher who had been held in north korea. so maybe that's a sign of some deescalating tensions. so if we see that obviously then we can say this is just a normal rhetorical squirmish with the north koreans or whether it's going to escalate. >> thank you. up next, with all the saber rattling, have we abandoned a
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rich, creamy cheesecake with real strawberries. find them with the refrigerated desserts. as far as north korea's concerned, i don't know, we'll see what happens. i don't like to talk about what i have planned. but i have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about. as far as north korea's concerned, eventually success. there will be success in the end
one way or the other. we'll handle that. we're going to be able to handle them. it will be handled. >> it will be handled. president trump talking about how he plans to handle escalating tensions with north korea. and now his most insend area comments ever promising that fire and fury, the likes of which the world has never seen. far from the successful negotiator he promised voters he'd be. so does all of this mean there is no hope far diplomatic solution? bill richardson negotiated directly with the north koreans as congressman and u.s. ambassador to the united nations, good to see you. you've been to north korea i think eight times. so take us behind the scenes, give us a sense of what it's like to negotiate with north korea and is it different now from when you were there? >> we don't know how kim jong-un operates except he's afraid of his own shadow and that's e dent. with the north koreans, you don't know where they're coming
from. they don't think like we do. they don't believe in quid pro quos, they believe in inspiration of the great leader and the instructions he gives. so it's a dark zone when you negotiate with them. but i think there is a diplomatic solution, in the end, as they did releasing this canadian recently, they end up taking steps that lower the temperature. and i think that's what we have to find, kris. >> one of the things that a lot of people are talking about obviously, and we heard it from rex tillerson today, yum anymorety on the u.n. security council, on the decision for tougher sanctions and david had a really interesting op-ed today, and i'm going to read in part, it says if washington and beijing managed to stay together in dealing with pyongyang, the door opens on a new era in which china will play a larger and
more responsible role in global affairs, commensurate with it's economic power. do you agree with that? >> yeah, i do agree, but china has to enforce those sanctions. 80% of commerce going into north korea goes through china. this is -- these sanctions will cost north korea one-third of their yearly income. but they have to be enforced. and there's a lot of cross border smuggling between north korea and china. so if china just kind of winks, this is not going to work, but the fact that china did not veto this resolution, that it also involves russia, north korean workers working in energy in russia and china too income that comes in, this could have a positive effect. and what i see the deal being, kris, is this, in exchange for dialogue with north korea, north korea stops testing missiles, short term, just find a way for the secretaries of state, the
foreign minister of north korea to see if there's any common ground. keep it at that level. i think that should be the next step, but it's very uncertain how kim jong-un is going to respond, and i did think the president's statements were over the top. he shouldn't have said that, but i think it's been tampaed down effectively by tillerson saying let's not worry, let's do this cautiously, but you never know what this president is going to do next and i hope he just listens to his secretary of state and pursues this very rationally. >> let's get your reaction to the counterargument, what we have done so far hasn't worked. the sanctions in the past, they have not stopped the nuclear program, it's escalated faster than we even thought it would. maybe there is exactly a strategic reason, and we saw the president retweeting articles about his statements yesterday, so clearly, he's not backing down about his insend area remarks yesterday. is it possible that this is
what, he believes, needs to be done and is it possible if you talk about the possibility of the two sides actually finding some diplomatic solution that what it will lead to is kim jong-un believing now i'm being taken seriously, i'm being treated as the world leader, as the grand commander that i want to be, and and this it actually does lead to some sort of p tamping down. >> so they come to the negotiating table. didn't work. but let's remember, kris, some 10 been 12 years ago in the clinton administration, we did make a deal with the north koreans that symptomed their nuclear development for nine years. yeah in the end, they cheated, but at least there was a temporary halt and there were some dialogue going on. i think there is a deal in the making again, but it should involve diplomatic pressure
worldwide, the sanctions taking effect and china helping. continue the military exercises with south korea so that north korea is aware of that we're not abandoning our partner, that we're staying close to them. and then lastly, some kind of creative diplomacy that involves recognizing that the fewer preconditions we have on north korea on a dialogue on aing to are going to work. i know foreign minister from north korea, he used to handle u.s. affairs. he's kind of a reasonable guy within the scheme of things, and i think if we let our diplomats, state department, not the defense department, not the national security office, but the state department negotiate a temporary freeze so that we can have rational discussions, a freeze on north korean missile tests. and we have a dialogue.
that should be the next step, and i think tillerson is moving in the right direction. he certainly has tamped down the president's fiery rhetoric, and that's good. >> i'm completely out of time. i want to ask you since you brought up this guy who is reasonable, is he also somebody that kim jong-un listens to? >> i don't know. you know, the security forces of north korea control north korea, the military does. the foreign ministry is where they have the more rational policy makers, but whether they have access to kim jong-un, i don't know. the fact that the foreign minister made those very strong statements suggests that he got instructions to do that. but he's a smart character, that foreign minister. i know him. and i think we can do business with him, but it should be at tillerson's level with that foreign minister. that's what i would do. but nobody asked me. just you. and i thank you for asking me. >> and i thank you for answering. bill richardson, i have a
feeling we'll see a lot of you in the days and weeks to come. thank you. >> thank you. up next, amid all of this uncertainty in north korea, midterm elections are on the horizon. are president trump's falling poll numbers any indication that the democrats are in for a big win? and the senate majority leader takes his own shot at the president saying he doesn't understand the democratic process. >> our new president has not been in this line of work before, and i think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process. i came across this house with water dripping from the ceiling. you never know when something like this will happen. so let the geico insurance agency help you with homeowners insurance and protect yourself from things like fire, theft, or in this case, water damage. cannonball! now if i had to guess, i'd say somewhere upstairs there's a broken pipe.
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office depot / office max. ♪ taking care of business democrats looking at history and so, looking to make gains in next year's midterm elections, working in their favor? president trump's approval ratings in the basement. the republicans failure to pass health care or tax reform, but, not so fast. cnbc's john harwood points out three major obstacles for democrats. first the current hyperpartisanship diminishing the ability of democrats to attract republican voters. the combination of political jerry handering with the residential concentrations giving the gop the ability to win a share of house seats that
outpaces their share of the overall population. and democrats are increasingly reliant on younger voters. a group that traditionally shows up in lower numbers in the midterms. i want to get back to my panel and here loni, steve joins us, andkornaki and evan bayh. even more so if his approval rating is below 50%. but could history be wrong here? >> one of those situations by any historical standard the president with an approval rating in the high 30s, even into the low 40s and a party that controls congress. there's a lot of low-hanging fruit there for the other side. that party is going to suffer badly in a mid-term election. if history holds up, you're looking at a big democratic year next year at least based on the numbers we're seeing right now. you think about what happened in the campaign last year. by any historical standard if you look at donald trump's numbers during that campaign. he was a loser. his party was going to take it
on the chin and look what happened on election day. one of the first three factors john harwood mentioned call it hyperand whatever you want to call it. donald trump seems to have an effect, at least he did last year on politics and more broadly speaking on our culture that forces people into these two camps. you saw this last year where he had poisonous numbers but polarization seemed to raise his support on election day. a lot of people who didn't necessarily like him but they wanted to be on that side of this great divide. if it returns to that on election day next year, then maybe the numbers we're looking at right now. the hope for republicans. maybe the numbers we're looking at are a bit of a red herring. >> steven miller who said we have the greatest order perhaps in the modern history of the presidency. you can both kind of chuckle at that. having said that, his message got through governor, more than hillary clinton's did and a lot of democrats who looked and said, you know, one of our problems was we did not connect with those voters.
what can democrats do between now and then? >> his message did get through, chris. a message of change, blow washington up and anger at the elites in the establishment. the problem with that, he's now in charge. with an absence of legislative accomplishment and that kind of thing, the desire for change will still be there and turns on them. i think, look, you net all these factors out and probably going to be -- >> can you win by saying the other guy didn't do it. it's essentially the negative approach to it without having an aformative approach to say, here's what we're going to do different differently. >> looking at history and the other piece you mentioned, it's probably going to be a good democratic night. the biggest problems we have are the maps. look at the house. hillary clinton got 3 million more votes than donald trump. >> right. >> donald trump won 30 more congressional districts. that shows you how skewed the maps are. we can pick up quite a few seats. it's still running uphill to get a majority. in the senate only two vulnerable republican seats that
would be nevada and possibly arizona. where the democratic side, we have five states that were won by trump by at least 19% and in the case of i think west virginia, 40%. so, you know, we've got -- it's a narrow path. a path there, but a fairly narrow path because of the maps in both the house and the senate. >> it was interesting if you read the article, they quote political science with this incredible prediction. by 2040, 70% of americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states. home to the overwhelming majority of the 30 largest cities. that means 70% of all americans get all 30 senators, 30% get 70 senators. lonnie, is this partly self-inflicted because the democrats have stopped making an effort to compete in large parts of rural america. is rural america the key going forward? how do you view all this? >> i don't know that it's they stopped competing, chris.
do they have a message. are they articulating a message that is going to attract voters in that part of the country. one of the challenges democrats have going into the 2018 cycle is a question of what their core message is going to be. was the message that they had in 2016 one that's going to be effective in 2018. probably not. what are they going to do there? and then the question really around these mid-term elections comes down to intensity. what is the intensity of the democratic voter base and the progressive voter base versus the intensity of the conservative voter base. one of the challenges with republicans not getting health care done and potentially not doing tax reform until next year is that it demotivates the republican base. and if that ends up happening, it's going to be a very difficult night for them. so, the republicans have to keep their base engaged. and by the same token, democrats have to figure out what's their message to get democratic partisans engaged going into next year's election. >> i have to ask you about the
president's tweet in gop primary. what was that about, steve? >> first of all, mo brooks is the house member who has been trying to run as the sort of pro-trump candidate of the grassroots. somebody who had some very disparaging words last year. that is certainly a factor. this is an interesting one. i think that's going to send a message to a lot of those republicans out there. you think of like a dean heller or somebody, hey, this is where the republican base is. they respond to this president getting involved and you do not want to be in a republican primary on the wrong side of trump. >> only a start to this conversation. i look forward to having it further as the days go on. in the meantime, an american territory on edge. we'll look at why north korea may be making threats towards guam and why it's essential for us to do everything we can to protect it.
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that wraps up this hour. i'm chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle. right now more news with hallie jackson. >> new u.s. warplanes getting to guam on alert after the overnight threats from north korea with, by the way, of all places rex tillerson making a pit stop there in the last couple hours landing at the same exact air force base north korea threatened. hey, americans should be able to sleep at night.
phone lines are open. president trump may not exactly be on the same page pointing to our nuclear arsenal making the point they're ready. developing in the last hour, an arrest in the new paris tear investigation. one man now in custody after a car rammed into a group of french soldiers. back at home, some political maneuvering with mitch mcconnell unplugged. the majority venting about president trump upset over his expectations saying that's the reason for so few legislative wins and in just the last couple minutes the white house firing back. our team is here with the latest on all of it and this morning we are getting a better sense of what the president meant or what rex tillerson thinks he meant by threatening fire and fury against north korea. listen. >> i think the president just wanted to be clear to the north korean regime that the u.s., you know, unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies and i think it